Thursday, May 13, 2010


This is a book review done by my primary reviewer for my NoName Cafe Book Review Corner site that is on temporary hiatus. Cindy Chow is awesome and has been reviewing books for my site for years. Since the Cafe is on hiatus right now thought I would start posting some of her reviews here in my Closet!

Happy reading and good coffee!


By Elizabeth Zelvin

St. Martin’s Minotaur, $25.99

ISBN: 978-0312582661, 10/09

Review by Cindy Chow

Death Will Help You Leave Him is a story of addictions. Each characters battles his or her own addiction, be it to alcohol, drugs, love, sex, being needed, or, helpful for this novel, an addiction to investigating. Bruce Kohler is nine months sober and working as a temporary paralegal when his best friend’s girlfriend Barbara’s addiction to helping others has the three on a mission of mercy to aid her Al-Anon sponsee Luz, who apparently just discovered the body of her boyfriend in her apartment. The beautiful women had been unable to refrain from loving or leaving the abusive victim, and the fact that Luz has been a little recalcitrant with the truth to everyone has her as the number one suspect on the police suspect list. With considerable pressure from Barbara, Bruce finds himself a little too eager to investigate the dead man’s life, which included drug dealing, several stints in rehab, a bakery-owning family, and most problematic for Luz, a wife. While the addictive high of detecting satisfies some of Bruce’s need for excitement, the reappearance of his bi-polar ex-wife dangerously creates another.

The most compelling aspects of this second novel by Elizabeth Zelvin, a psychotherapist with a strong addiction treatment background, are the addictions of the characters and the various ways they have managed to cope with them. Barbara is impulsive and reckless with her need to constantly help and “fix” other’s problems, Bruce daily battles the desire for alcohol and an attraction to his fragile and reckless ex-wife, and Luz has her own inability to acknowledge the destructiveness of her past relationship. Bruce’s own personal tragedies interweave with his amateurish investigation, and both prove to be realistic and clearly depicted. Despite the somber themes of this mystery, the wry humor of the heroes lighten the tone and make this a very enjoyable read. The characters and their struggles also aid in creating an extremely unique mystery that sucks the reader in and refuses to let go.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Rats in my closet!

Time to venture into the rat side of my closet lol. Yes I did say rats which may send some of you scurrying for the table. But actually domesticated rats are wonderful pets-trust me I used to be part of the table scurrying crowd so I understand. And actually for me the mystery side of my closet and the rat side are now connected as my main character in the new series will end up befriending an adorable blue dumbo rat against her better judgement-but that's a whole other story.
I'd like to take a moment and share with you my introduction to rats as a pet. Like many I was scared to death of all rodents and would have screamed had any come near me. However when my daughter was in 4th grade her class had rats and she begged to have some of her own. After much arguing I gave in with the stipulation that she and her father would take care of them and I would not have to have anything to do with them at all.
Well this lasted all of maybe 24 hours. We brought home a pair of baby female rats and one of them quickly became ill. Somehow any creature in your home that is ill immediately becomes the duty of the mother in the house-I'm not sure why. I took a deep breath and forced myself to care for the ailing creature-within a couple of days I was hooked. This tiny tan baby was so sweet and loving and her fur so very soft she drew me in and made me fall in love with her. Perhaps rats are magical in some way lol. My love for rats was sealed though when I had to return her to the pet store to be put down :( That broke my heart so much that I brought home a replacement and fell immediately in love with a white rat named Hermione.
Hermione was the best example of a rat anyone could ever find and the best first rat anyone could ever have. Not only was she as friendly and loving as a puppy she was smart! She quickly learned her name and if you let her out to play she would come running when you called her and never got into any trouble.
Now keep in mind if you should venture into the rat owning world that just like people each rat is different and most will get into things and chew them and only a few will come running whenever you call. Many tend to have more cat characteristics in them and are very stubborn looking at you when you call them like they're saying to you "what me? Um I don't think so." I'd say rats are an interesting combination of cat and dog traits-they also clean themselves just like cats.
I'm sure I probably haven't sold most of you non rat people on rats yet, but beware if you ever let them in the door you may be won over by their magical powers :)
If you would like to learn more about rats as pets there are many wonderful websites you can check out one of my favorite being RMCA
One of my favorite rat related movies is Ratatouille! I would never let my rats cook but come on isn't he cute?